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LIFE HICONOS - High efficiency combustion system for Non-Oxidizing furnaces for steel processing lines (LIFE HICONOS)
Start date: Jun 1, 2014, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background The European (EU28) steel industry employs around 360 000 people and produces almost 170 million tonnes (MT) of steel. This industry has a higher than average energy consumption and releases 1.8 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of steel produced. Together with the chemical, petro-chemical and mineral (non-metallic) industries, the iron and steel industry is responsible for around 70 % of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. On its own, the industry is responsible for 27% of these emissions, and for almost 7% of the world’s total CO2 emissions. Since 2006, a significant number of steel furnaces in Europe have considered energy savings and emissions reductions as parameters in their economic evaluations. This requires the use of the best available technologies for combustion and energy recovery. Objectives The aim of this project is to demonstrate a technology that will reduce energy consumption, and therefore the CO2 and NOx emissions, in the steel processing industry. In particular, the project will test and approve a combustion system that uses an innovative rotating regenerator exchanger (a type of heat exchanger) in non-oxidizing furnaces (NOF). This technology will be tested at pre-industrial level in the ArcelorMittal plant, at Mardyck, in France. During steel processing, waste gases from continuous galvanizing lines (CGL - applies a zinc coating to the surface of steel) and continuous annealing lines (CAL - a process of heating and cooling that softens the material) are conveyed to the stack via a centralized recuperator (a special purpose counter-flow energy recovery heat exchanger). This recuperator preheats combustion air to temperatures near 450°C, feeding the direct-fired furnace burners for the combustion with natural gas. This combustion then preheats the steel strip. The innovation that the project will demonstrate involves replacing the classic recuperator with a rotating regenerator exchanger, to preheat combustion air up to 1000°C in order to: Decrease energy consumption of the natural gas used to preheat the steel strip at the NOF; and Decrease the CO2 and NOx emissions produced during the combustion of natural gas. Expected results: The project will be implemented in a galvanizing line plant with a nominal capacity to produce 350 000 tonnes of steel per year, and a current NOF consumption of 181kWh of natural gas per tonne of steel. If successful, this new technology expects to achieve the following results: Decrease the energy consumption by 23 % from 181 kWh to 140 kWh per tonne of steel; Lower the yearly CO2 emissions by up to 23 %, from 11707 tons to 9055 tonnes; and Reduce the yearly NOx emissions by up to 10 %, from 26 tonnes to 23 tonnes.If successful, the prototype will be recommended to more than 300 plants all around the world.

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